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A NIGHT INSIDE THE GREAT PYRAMID     77
cemented. I found myself gazing at a blank wall; then, as swiftly.whirled away by some irresistible force until the whole scene was blotted out and I had floated off into space again. I heard the words: "Not yet, not yet/' repeated as in an echo and a few moments later saw my inert unconscious body lying on the stone.
"My son/' came a murmur from the High Priest, "it matters not whether thou discoverest the door or not. Find but the secret passage within the mind that will lead thee to the hidden chamber within thine own soul, and thou shalt have found something worthy indeed. The mystery of the Great Pyramid is the mystery of thine own self. The secret chambers and ancient records are all contained in thine own nature. The lesson of the Pyramid is that man must turn inward, must venture to the unknown centre of his being to find his soul, even as he must venture to the unknown depths of this fane to find its profoundest secret. Farewell!"
My mind whirled into some vortex that caught me; I slipped helplessly, sucked downwards, ever downwards; heavy torpor overcame me, and I seemed to melt back into my physical body; I strained my will, pushing and trying to move its rigid muscles, but failed, and finally I swooned. . . .
I opened my eyes with a shock, in inky blackness. When the numbness passed, my hands groped for the torch and switched the light on. I was back in the King's Chamber, still tremendously excited, so excited in fact, that I jumped up and shouted, my voice echoing back in muffled tones. But, instead of feeling the floor beneath my feet, I found myself falling through space. Only by throwing both hands on the edge of the stone block and clinging to the sides did I save myself. I then realized what had happened. In rising I had unwittingly moved to the far end of the block and my feet were now dangling over the excavated hole in the north-west corner of the floor.
I picked myself up and got back to safety, secured the lamp and threw a beam of light upon my watch. The glass was cracked in two places, where I had struck my hand and wrist against the wall in jumping up, but the works still ticked merrily away; and then, as I noted the time I almost laughed outright despite the solemnity of my surroundings.
For it was precisely the melodramatic hour of midnight, both hands pointing to twelve, neither more nor less!